March 10, 1993, March 13, 1993


Exodus 33

Vs. 1-3.

The Lord speaks to Moses and tells him to continue on in his calling to take the people to Canaan, and He, the Lord, will continue to lead.

1) which thou hast brought up... this is the same thing the Lord said when the Lord sent Moses down in 32:8. Yes, Moses did bring them out, but he did at the command and direction of the Lord. If Moses had brought them out on his own, they would all really be in trouble.

2) The Lord makes it clear to Moses that he reason He is taking them on is for the promise that he made to their fathers.

3) angel Evidently this was not the Angel of the Lord's presence, but simply a messenger doing the Lord's bidding. [Was it the same Angel promised in Exo 23:20, 23? In v. 23, He is called mine Angel. In Exo 32:34, he is again called mine Angel. In Ex 33:2, he is called an angel. Keil points out that the promised Angel in 23:23, was the Lord Himself, but in 33:2, it is only a representative because the Lord would have to consume them. The people are warned in 23: 20ff not to provoke the Angel, and here at the foot of the mount, they did provoke Him. See Moses' plea in v. 15.]

Furthermore, the Lord will send His Angel before thee (Moses), not before the people, implying that the Lord is leading his servant, Moses, not the people, and if the people wanted to follow the Lord, they would have to follow Moses.

4) The Lord continues according to His promise of the land by saying that He will drive out the inhabitants. There are only 6 nations listed here, although the promise consisted of 7 nations, De 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou... But the Lord knows the battles required to claim the promises, and He will provide sufficient strength to conquer all areas for Him.

5) The land is flowing with milk and honey. In other words, it is a good land which will prosper if properly worked. The land was given to them already "subdued," vineyards and orchards already planted, but Israel would have to work according to the command-word of God to make it continue to prosper.

6) Notice that the Lord said that He would not travel in the midst of them: they were at this time unrepentant sinners which would be consumed. Latter after the tabernacle was built, He did again dwell in their midst.

7) stiffnecked is how the Lord describes this people here and in 32:9. See our notes above in Exo 32:9. And He tells the people up front that they are stiffnecked. People must be confronted with their sin and stubbornness.

Vs. 4-6.
V. 5 is the reason for v. 4. The Lord told Moses to tell Israel that they were a stiffnecked people, and if they did not repent, the Lord would come among them and consume them.

1) mourned: I think it is obvious that their mourning was strictly an outward action in which the people hoped to play the Lord for their own good.

A) they did not mourn over the death of the 3000, but over their loss of privilege under the Lord. This could be either good or bad. In a good since: we should mourn the most over the lose of our relationship with the Lord. In a bad since: we care not what happens to others, even death, as long as we can still receive the blessings of God. I am afraid that the mourning of our day in this nation is over the personal loss, not over the destruction of others.

I am fed up with so called Christians who are concerned with only "their four and no more." As far as they are concerned, the whole world, even Christian brothers and sisters, can parish as long as they still prosper. "So what if 3000 parish? as long as it doesn't effect me and the wealth the Lord has given." Those who care for none and nothing except them and their's pay a terrible price. Not a one of these idolaters entered in to the land.

I am thinking of the ... who would not make their daughter take Jessica to school after she had her license and was driving, so Carol had to take her both ways; the trip was 12 miles each way, the ... lived a few doors from us. Furthermore, when they moved to Cville, they lived only 1/4 mile from our piano player, but would not bring her to church on WN when they were coming. My wife would go get her and take her home (12 miles each way), and when asked, they even refused to either pick her up or take her home.
Of course, they have paid the price many times over: Their daughter has had at least one abortion and is openly living for the devil (with the parents approval. They built a new house with a room for her, and she still lives with them as she goes her own way and does her own thing. She is about 19 or 20 now. (1993) I have no doubt that the Lord rewards us according to how we sow.)

B) We know that the mourning was not genuine because the people continually hardened themselves against the Lord and against Moses. They continually complained from here at Herob to the boarders of Canaan. Their "cup of sin" was full by the time they got to Canaan, so they were barred from the land.

2) if the Lord personally went in the midst of them, He would have to consume them. Thus the Lord impresses upon the people that His justice required their total annihilation for their sin, but because of His promise, mercy would prevail. "Those whom God pardons must be made to know what their sin deserved, and how miserable they would have been if they had been unpardoned, that God's mercy may be the more magnified." MH

MH makes another very important point for me: "The greater the privileges we enjoy the greater is our danger if we do not improve them and live up to them." The Lord emphases this strongly in Mat 25:14-30. Those who do not work at developing and using the talent(s) given to them by the Lord are in danger of His judgment.

3) ornaments... Obviously refers to outward adorning.

A) The Lord told them to cast away from themselves their outward adorning, and thereby He would know what to do about their sin. Of course, the NT reference is 1 Pe 3:4 But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

The Lord desires the inward adorning of the heart. OT Israel never got to that point (as a whole. There were exceptions).

B) Gen 35:4, apparently ornaments were used in the service of the false gods around them. This idea would fit in well with 1 Pet 3:4.

4) that I may know what to do with thee. The Lord is looking past the outward adorning to the heart, and He will deal with them accordingly. This also speaks of the Lord not jumping to conclusions. Remember that He personally went down to check out the situation in Sodom before He destroyed the sinners. Now of course, the Lord knew what He was going to do with Israel, but this shows us that, unlike us and the people here at the foot of the mount, He is not acting according to emotion, but rather according to the established precepts of His law-word.

5) I wonder what murmuring went through the camp as they stripped themselves of their ornaments? I know what kind of murmuring goes on today among "God's people" when they are required to strip themselves of their ornaments according to 1 Pet 3:4. mount Horeb, the mount of God.

Vs. 7-11
the tabernacle evidently was the tent where Moses rendered judgment and give audience to the people. It could have been a hastily built tabernacle, or Moses' tent. The tabernacle was not yet built.

1) tabernacle, or tent. Moses took the tent afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. Moses had received a great amount of instruction concerning the Tabernacle of the congregation while he was on the mount. It was to be a place where those wanting to commune with their God could go and do so. But the tabernacle described to Moses was not yet built. I think there are a couple reasons why Moses pitched the tent afar off from the camp.

A) Moses impressed upon the people their distance from the Lord because of their sin. The glory of the Lord departs because of sin. Their sin separated them from their God, Isa 59:2.

B) God's anger against a sinful nation is seen by His removal of His presence (seen in His law and judgments) from that nation. Thus the worse thing that can befall any people is that the true judgments and word of the Lord depart from their midst. This is exactly what we are seeing today: the judgments of the Lord have been removed from the midst of the people, both from the pulpit and from civil government. There are only two options: 1) repent and move the judgments of the Lord back among the people and 2) judgment and destruction of the people who removed the Lord. The problem is that there is very little protest from the people in general. And there is not enough protest to return the Tabernacle back among the people. Obviously judgment is the next step.

C) The people need some kind of outward sign to separate the ones who wanted to seek the Lord from those who did not. Thus those who desired to seek the Lord were able to freely seek Him. And every one was welcome from Moses down to the lowest Israelite.

D) The ones who sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle, showing that it is the sinner who must move toward the Lord. The gospel or word of God must not be lowered to the level of the sinner; rather, the sinner must be brought to the level of the gospel. The sinner must move, and it is the Spirit of God Who moves him.

E) I think there is another very important point here: the Holy Lord God will not dwell among sin. Thus those who openly practice sin (sin according to the law of Moses), yet claim to still have the holy presence of God's Spirit working through them are trapped in a lie of the devil. Of course, the Spirit does not depart from the genuine child of God, but neither can He manifest Himself as He can through a faithful obedient servant.

I am thinking of both the penticostals and of Jack Hyles. In both cases, the people harbor known sin, yet still claim the Lord's holy working through them. Such claims are blasphemy.

2) all the people rose up, and stood.., and looked.., vs. 9, 10. The realization of their distance from the Lord is made fresh every time Moses went to the tent.

A) I have read several accounts of the people standing and looking, and they all say that this shows the people's desire to be reunited with their God. But I have a question... If the people wanted to be reunited, why did not they all go out to the tabernacle? I think the answer is obvious. They wanted Moses to do the work for them so they would not have to make peace with God. Exo 20:20-25, was spoken to Moses only. Exo 24:3-8, Moses told the people, not once but twice, all the words of the Lord. In other words, the people of Exo 33:6, 10, knew about the command given to Moses in 20:20-25, the gods of gold and the sacrifice, but they do not do it here in ch. 33. Why? Probably because the altar was not yet built, or something similar.

My point is this: if the people of ch 33 really desired to be reunited with their God, why did not they go to the tabernacle outside the camp with Moses? I suppose human nature prevents really dealing with things like this separation. It is a work of the Spirit that gives the desire to be united with the Lord.

B) MH here says that they worshiped in their tent toward where Moses was meeting with the Lord as a public sign of repentance and of their confidence in Moses interceding and mediating for them.

3) the Angel dwelt outside the camp until the tabernacle, as revealed to Moses, was built. Then thorough the sacrifices, the covenant could be renewed.

4) Moses talked to the Lord face to face. Of course this was not the full holiness of God the Father; notice the wording: the LORD. The spelling is Jehovah God, or the OT spelling for Jesus. Thus, Moses spoke to a Christophany, an appearance of Christ. Abraham talked to the Lord when pleading with Him over Sodom, Gen 18. Or it could be that the Lord just talked to Moses out of the cloudy pillar as with a friend with no physical appearance.

5) we have already mentioned this, so we will here only in passing. Moses is a type of Christ in his intercession to the Lord for a sinful people.

6) Joshua remained in the tabernacle. This young man's name keeps popping up, and always as the obedient servant of Moses. Here he is ministering in the tabernacle, and was not even of the tribe of Levi (he was an Ephraimite). Every time I read about him, I am struck with the fact that the greatest qualification for the Lord's service is consistent FAITHFULNESS. And this Joshua had.

There are no shortcuts in the Lord's army, and Joshua was raised up through the ranks.

Vs. 12-23.
Moses talks with the Lord in the tabernacle, and he pleads with the Lord to do something special for him to show him that the Lord is still with him. Moses presents this petition before the Lord because the Spirit placed in him the desire to make such a petition, Rom 8:24ff. There are a couple of very good passages here that would do us well to meditate on.

I will go through here and first pick out my favorite points, then come back and glean the rest out.

1) As a general overview, we see that this request by Moses to the Lord is more personal than anything else. Everyone, except Joshua, had turned from the way in which Moses had invested so much to lead the people. The hardness of the people and the speed with which they forsook both him and the Lord would have been enough to discourage anyone. This section is for Moses' encouragement, and for the encouragement of God's men every since. I wonder how people can sit within hearing distance, as did this people, of the word of God and still seek after the false gods of Egypt.


A) Moses was the greatest leader of all times, and the Lord showed Himself strong through Moses frequently, yet no matter how strong the leader, he still needs encouragement. I think that both Moses and the Lord knew that Moses himself needed something special surpassing any previous revelations of the glory of God; Moses needed encouragement after the ordeal with the calf.

B) The people of God only discouraged Moses, so he turns to the Lord. Therefore, notice where Moses looks for his encouragement.

C) the kind of encouragement Moses seeks: "Let me see Your glory, Lord." The sin of the people had taken its toll on Moses, so now he wants to see the glory of the Lord. People, God's people here, are so committed to sin that it is very easy to forget the glory of the Lord. The discouragement brought about by stiffnecked people can be overcome only by a glimpse of the glory of the Lord.

2) v. 12, Moses points out 4 promises which the Lord made to him. (I think that we cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a or the promise of God when we set about a special task. How many "Christian workers" have entered in to task with no promise of God to fall back on when the going gets difficult and the hearts of the people are hard? David encouraged himself in the Lord when all appeared against him; Moses here encourages himself in the Lord when all appears against him.

A) Moses reminds the Lord that he is in this fix because the Lord sent him, and even when Moses went, it was against his "better judgment." "Lord, I am here because You send me, not because I wanted to come."

B) Moses reminds the Lord that the Lord had promised to be with him all the way to the land of Canaan. In fact, the more Moses protested about him bringing the people out, the more the Lord promised to be with him and to go before him, Exo 3 & 4. Moses also reminded the Lord that the Lord promised to be with him, and now Moses desires to know just who the Lord had agreed to send with him as he leads the people.

C) he reminds the Lord that the Lord had said that He knew Moses by name; thus indicating a special relationship with involved special care of Moses by the Lord. Where was this promise that the Lord knew Moses by name? I don't know that this promise is made clear to us, but when Moses was called at the bush, it was by name, Exo 3:4.

D) the Lord had promised grace to Moses. Grace would be "God's unmerited favor," to use a common term.

3) based upon the 4 promises of the Lord to Moses, Moses now asks the Lord to follow through on the promises, v. 13.

A) shew me now thy way. "Lord, based upon Your promise of grace, show me now the way which is pleasing in Your sight."

B) that I may know thee. Moses confesses that the way to know the Lord is by knowing the way in which the Lord would have him to go. Thus we can know the Lord.

C) grace in God's sight is equated with the Lord showing to man His ways.

D) in His anger, the Lord had called the people Moses' people. Moses reminds the Lord that they are His people: "Lord, consider this nation, it is Thy people, not mine." The people never did accept Moses, and Moses knew it. He was always considered an outsider with only one man truly committed to him, Joshua. So Moses holds the people up before the Lord as the Lord's people.

Note that one of the main marks of an individual (or any group of individuals, eg. nation, church) having grace in the sight of God is that the Lord shows him His way according to His word. God's grace shows man the implications of His word so that man can walk in that way. The worse thing that can happen to any person is that the Lord would withhold His grace and NOT show him the implications of God's word. Thus, we are given some implications:

a) the individual would be headed toward assured death. We must say, "Who can fault God when He chooses to withhold His grace, and thus man cannot see the way from His word?"

b) God withholds His grace so man cannot see the way of life when He chooses to judge man, men or nations. It is a sign of God's judgment when His enlightening grace is withheld. God's judgment is upon the church which has a pastor who will not teach the whole counsel of God. God's judgment is upon a nation when the judicial system is permitted to remove God's laws.

Thus, our prayer (my prayer) must be that God would show mercy and grace that we would see the way, the implications of His word.

4) The Lord hears Moses plea from v. 13, and promises that His (the Lord's) presence will go with Moses. Furthermore, the Lord promises His servant, Moses, rest.

5) v. 15 is one of the greatest statements in Scripture. Moses tells the Lord that if the Lord Himself, not just a messenger, an angel, does not go with him, he does not want to leave this place at the foot of the mount.


A) Moses knows that if the Lord deserts him and Israel now only destruction lies ahead, so why leave? Why go through the many trials and sufferings ahead if only destruction is after that. They could stay where they are and perish without the trials and sufferings.

B) the translators added with me (that is, Moses) but I think it is true to the context. Moses knows that it is useless and hopeless to try to continue on without the Lord's obvious presence going with and before him, so he tells the Lord to just leave them there if He isn't going with him.

For us: all of our efforts are wasted, and we might as well stand still as to try to move ahead without the Lord's presence. But the Lord Jesus gave a promise, Mat 28:19, 20, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen. Thus, we have the assurance of the Lord's presents as we move in obedience to His command.

But very few move in the assurance of the Lord's presence. Why should they when they have been trained up in self-confidence and self-esteem?

6) v. 16, two points:
A) the Lord's grace at work in a people is evident for all to see (shall it be known here) by the Lord going with them;
B) the evidence of that grace is the Lord separating His minister and His people (I and thy people) from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. Moses said we, identifying himself with the stiffnecked people. Both the Lord's and Moses' reputation rested upon the Lord leading and working in this His people.

Thus, holiness and commitment to the Lord and to His law is the sign of God's presence and grace upon a man and upon a group of people.

Moses told the Lord that both their reputations were ruined unless the Lord went with them to separate them from all the people upon the earth. This is my earnest plea: it is useless to go on unless the Lord goes before us to lead us in His way.

Moses tells the Lord that God's grace is evident in His separating His people from their sin. The thought behind Moses' words is identical to the thought behind Paul's:

Eph 3:7-13, Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

I, as a minister called by name by the Lord, must make the same request:

"Lord, It is for Your honour and glory that You separate my people which You have brought out of Egypt from their sins and hardness of heart. Furthermore Lord, if You do not do the work and leading, leave us here."

7) v. 17, the Lord hears and answers Moses request; He promises to go with them personally to lead and separate them. The reason the Lord says He will do this is because Moses had found grace in His sight, and because the Lord did indeed know Moses by name.

A) I know thee by name. What a wonderful promise in dark, discouraging days.

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
John 10:14, 15, I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

The Lord not only knew Moses' name, but He knows mine, and He called me by name. (I will add that if the Lord did not call a person by name, they are not called of God for the place they are in whether it be in "salvation" or in the "ministry.")

8) V. 18, Moses pleads to see the glory of God. Moses makes this special request as a seal upon what the Lord said He would do. Yet even in his discouraged condition, he did not extend the bounds of the word of God.
And my plea is that the Lord, in His mercy and grace, would manifest Himself here in my life and in the life of my folks.

9) The Lord agrees to show Moses His glory with one of the greatest and most profound statements in Scripture. This statement says that no man, not even Moses, will tell God what to do, nor will any man influence God. Moses prayed completely proper as he casts himself and the people upon the grace of God.


A) the glory of God:

Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Joh 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
1Ti 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Thus the glory of God is seen in the Word of God, Jesus, and is before us in His word. Human limitations prohibit seeing all that glory in His word, so we only catch a glimpse of His back parts, but one day we shall see him face to face. Our prayer should be that His grace would allow us to see His goodness from His word which is before us.

B) the mercy and grace of God is shown only to whom the Lord will show them to. The Lord only reveals Himslef to those He desires.

Ps 65:4, Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple.

Paul said it like this:

Ro 4:4, Now to him that worketh is the reward not reconed of grace, but of debt.

Then again:

Ro 9:14-24, What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?


The Scriptural doctrine of Election, which goes much farther than simply Salvation, is summed up in this verse. The Lord gives Moses one of the key statements in Scripture. In fact, it is the very foundation of salvation, as well as every thing that takes place in our lives. The Lord makes it very clear to Moses here in the OT and again to the NT church through Paul that the choice of who will be in salvation, the choice of who will have what gift in their service before the Lord, is Jehovah's alone. Man does not chose to come to the Lord; God chooses to bring man to Himself.

Might He see fit to show His mercy upon me and my people.

10) my back-parts:

A) the Lord's promise contained the assurance that He would not give to Moses more than human nature can bear, v. 20-23. His protecting and preserving power will watch over Moses, and only permit him to see a reflection of Himself; Moses will see only what human eyes are capable of seeing of the Lord this side of death. Christ is the reflected image of the Father, John 1:18.

B) we can only see the back-parts of the Lord, ie. the works that He has done. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to see the work that He is doing, and it is impossible to see before the Lord to the work that He is going to do, although we do catch a glimpse from His word.

11) the Lord protects Moses as He manifests His glory and goodness. I believe that here we have a picture of the protection of His people in the midst of the judgment of the Lord upon the sinners of the world.

12) the familiarity here between the Lord and Moses was never enjoyed by any other man except between the Lord Jesus and His disciples. Abraham knew a little of this relationship with the Lord; Paul spent three years with the Lord in the desert, but no one had the open relationship with the Lord as did Moses. Moses was the mediator which spoke of the perfect mediation which Christ would bring with Himself.

Moses boldly comes before the Lord with his request, even though the people had sinned a great sin. The Lord hears Moses, the people are spared and the mercy and grace of God are revealed for all to see.

Let me conclude this chapter with some points that MH made:

1) Israel was accepted in their mediator, Moses; we are accepted of the Father in our Mediator, Jesus (we are accepted in the beloved).

2) the grace and presence of the Lord with us will be evident for all to see.

3) Moses was not content for himself alone to have God's favour; he wanted God's favour for his people. Are we content as long as we alone have God's favour, or do we want others to enjoy it also?

4) The more of God Moses experienced, the more he wanted to experience of the Lord; the more he had the more he asked for. Thus God's people should never be satisfied this side of death with where they are. They should always be wanting more of the Lord.

5) sinful man dreads the sight of the Lord, but His people will not be satisfied until they see Him face to face.

6) Moses asked to see God's glory; the Lord showed Moses His goodness. "Note, God's goodness is his glory; and he will have us to know him by the glory of his mercy more than by the glory of his majesty; for we must fear even the Lord and his goodness, Hos. iii. 5."

7) "None can see his glory to their comfort but those who stand upon this rock, and take shelter in it."

8) Moses saw God's back-parts, but he saw not what the saints see in heaven; they see His face.